Waikawa Beach is a stunning area for dog walking, what I love about this place is the differences in terrain as you progress towards the beach. After crossing the pedestrian footbridge over the lazy Waikawa Stream you enter a dark pine forest, carpeted with needles, the light dappling through the brances from above.
The area is home to various types of bird life, ranging from common magpies, tui, fantail, and swallows through to Kahu (NZ Hawks), shags, herons and spoonbills.
The sand dunes, shaped over years, cradle the aging trees which are starting to deteriorate. A new addition to the area is a sign warning of their falling limbs. Thankfully not something we’ve seen happen, but might give that a pass on a windy day. Branches and pinecones litter the area, we collect some cones for the fire and throw some to Hazel as we meander on.
Between some trees a carpet of bright green, a perfect spot for a little photo break.
The forest turns to wetlands, long flax grasses and shallow waters. We turn west, up the pine needle carpeted dunes. A short but steep climb reveals a stunning view.
It’s bunny land here, and you wont struggle to find evidence – paw-prints lead towards the nibbled roots of dug up flax, or huge warrens big enough for even a large dog to enter for a tentative sniff.
Walking the flat expanse Hazel’s nose fluctuates from the ground to scenting the air, her steady trot not breaking stride, she breaks concentration to check we are still following. No bunnies to flush today, and luckily no horse poo to roll in either.
We follow the tracks of other dog owners, hoof-prints, and the treads of quad bikes for some time with the sound of crashing waves being carried to us on the wind. The towering dunes have diminished to more manageable gradients and part to reveal the crashing surf. In the distance Kapiti Island sits, today a large cloud sits atop its peak.
Once we hit the beach the rest is easy, it’s a quiet wander back along the surfs edge, encountering only one other pair who are also out with their dog. Although we didn’t see one today it’s not uncommon to encounter seals who can be spotted taking a short rest along the coast.
Located in the Horowhenua, Waikawa Beach is a short distance between Ōtaki and Levin. Give it a visit if you’re passing through, and if you need more of an excuse:
- Pop into Waikawa Blueberries (Pick-Your-Own during December and Feb-April)
- Check out the seriously cute pop-up stand of Happily Potted, for cacti and succulents potted in vintage and recycled wares.
See ya next time,